Hardest Mountain to Climb

Conquering the tallest snow-covered mountain peaks in the world is every mountaineer’s dream. However, arriving at the top of these towering mountains is difficult. Mountaineers must tackle numerous obstacles along the way to reach the summit of these majestic mountains.

But what is the Hardest Mountain to Climb in the world? You might think the highest of them, Mt Everest, must also be the hardest to climb. However, elevation is not the sole factor determining a mountain’s difficulty. The exhilarating altitude, extreme weather, and treacherous routes are challenging factors in peak climbing.

Moreover, the extreme cold at high altitudes also leads to various conditions like frostbite, hypothermia, etc. The different ascent routes also impact the peak’s difficulty level. On a technically challenging mountain, you will require advanced skills and equipment.

Unpredictable weather can hamper the most accessible mountain peak. Hence, expeditions can turn deadly in moments due to these various factors. Even though there are numerous challenges, thousands of mountaineers still go on these expeditions.

We have compiled a list of the hardest mountains to climb in the world. These grueling mountain peaks are challenging due to the various factors discussed above. Read on to learn about these mountains and why they are considered so difficult to summit.

You might want to read: Hari Budha Magar- Double Amputee Who Summitted Mt. Everest

Hardest Mountain to Climb

Mount Annapurna

Annapurna Hardest Mountain To climb on earth

Elevation: 8,091 m (26,545 ft)

Location: Annapurna Range, Gandaki Province, Nepal

First ascent: 3 June 1950, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal

Annapurna I might be only the 10th highest peak in the world, but on the scale of difficulty level, it ranks at the top. The mountain, towering at an elevation of 8,091 meters, is possibly the most difficult when it comes to mountain climbing.

Since the mountain is extreme in its difficulty, the climbers tackling this mountain must be highly skilled and experienced. Unsurprisingly, the fatality level of the mountain is also high. Almost one-third of the total mountaineers stepping foot on this mountain have perished.

Currently, the fatality rate in Annapurna I stands at 38%, which makes a total of 72 climbers. Only 191 climbers have conquered the mountain successfully so far. The mountain is infamous for its high fatality rate. But why is Annapurna so deadly to climb?

The mountain has many technical sections on the route to the summit of Annapurna. The trek routes will take you through unbalanced ice walls and seracs. Moreover, the climbers will have to pass through avalanche-prone areas.

Avalanches are the primary cause of causality in Annapurna. Besides that, there are several challenging sections where many mountaineers have lost their lives. Another cause of death in the Annapurna expedition is the crevasses found aplenty in the region. These make it difficult to climb or descend the peak.

The high-speed wind and weather conditions are fluctuating and unpredictable. Snowstorms can appear out of nowhere. It gets challenging to rescue mountaineers in the region due to the low visibility in the area. A frigid climate above 8000m is also known as the “Death Zone.”

Altitude sickness is at the top most on the list of difficulties in the region, and various measures must get taken to mitigate these challenges. It can be severe and even fatal if not treated in time. The more severe altitude sickness can lead to pulmonary edema, cerebral edema, and others. Hence, for these reasons, Annapurna is the most challenging mountain to climb in the world.

See also: Annapurna Climbing Death Rate

Mount K2

K2 hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 8,610 m (28,250 ft)

Location: Karakoram Range, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and China-administered Kashmir

First ascent: 31 July 1954, Achille Compagnoni & Lino Lacedelli

The K2 in the Karakoram mountain range is also the second most difficult to climb. The mountain, located in Pakistan, is quite tough to conquer. The death ratio is relatively high, with almost one-fourth of the climbers never returning.

K2, known for its incredibly challenging route, is hence less climbed. While Mount Everest oversees an influx of around 500 climbers every year, Mount K2 remains relatively quiet. Few mountaineers attempt to climb this incredible mountain, and even fewer become successful.

The K2 is also known for its bad weather, and avalanches in the mountain can hit at any time. There are steep slopes along the route to the summit. There are also high chances of rockfall, which makes K2 even more dangerous to climb.

There is a section known as the bottleneck where the climbers have to cross a massive ice wall just below an overhanging glacier. Since the seracs are unstable, there are high avalanches in the region. Hence, due to these factors, Mount K2 is one of the hardest mountains to climb.

Mount Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 8,126 m (26,660 ft)

Location: Himalayas, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan

First ascent: 3 July 1953 by Hermann Buhl

Nanga Parbat is a highly technical mountain in the Himalayas. This ninth-highest peak in the world is quite similar to K2 in terms of difficulty. It is popularly known as the “Man Eater” due to the high fatality rate. One of the significant causes of fatality in the high altitude mountain peak is the avalanche. Falls and extreme cold leading to frostbite are other causes of Nanga Parbat fatalities.

The southern face of the mountain, known as the “Rupal Face,” is 15,000 feet making it the most prominent face. The climb has a high fatality rate of 22%. The first ascent of the peak was by Hermann Buhl in July 1953. But there have been multiple expedition disasters in the mountain, which led to its infamous reputation.

Moreover, a terrorist attack occurred on 22 June 2013 at Nanga Parbat Base Camp, where the climbers were preparing for the ascent. It is widely known as the 2013 Nanga Parbat massacre. This shocking terrorist attack left at least ten climbers and guides from different countries dead and more injured. Hence, the Nanga Parbat ranks higher on this list of the hardest mountains to climb in the world.

Mount Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga hardest mountain to climb on earth
Kanchenjunga hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 8,586 m (28,169 ft)

Location: Himalayas, Taplejung District, Nepal; Sikkim, India

First ascent: 25 May 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band

Kanchenjunga is a stunning mountain peak with significant elevation and challenging routes. The mountain peak is unique from other mountain peaks. The advancement of technology and mountaineering gears have reduced the number of fatalities in other mountains. However, the Kanchenjunga peak fatality-to-summit ratio has further increased. After 1990, it is at a whopping 20%.

The primary factor for the mountain’s mind-boggling fatality rate is the falls. Besides that, many other factors make Kanchenjunga among the most challenging mountains to climb. The remote landscapes of the region are another factor, as the trek preceding the expedition will take around two weeks. Hence, the challenge starts even before you step on the mountain.

After arriving at the mountain, you must traverse many technical sections. The climbers will pass through the overhanging glaciers and seracs. These are the most dangerous parts of the climb as they can fall anytime and cause injuries or fatalities among the climbers.

The climbers have to ascend steep sections of 45°- 50°. This includes a vertical section above Camp IV, which remains responsible for many fatalities on the summit. Hence, the descent from the summit of Kanchenjunga is widely considered more challenging.

Mount Eiger

Eiger hardest mountain to climb on earth
Eiger hardest mountain to climb on Earth

Elevation: 3,967 m (13,015 ft)

Location: the Bernese Alps, Canton of Bern, Switzerland

First ascent: 11 August 1858, Christian Almer, Peter Bohren, and Charles Barrington

Eiger, in the spectacular Swiss Alps, is one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. Although it has a small height, it is generally considered and ranked amongst the most challenging mountain peaks to climb in the world. The Eiger is located in the Bernese Alps, and despite its slight elevation, it gets complicated.

The north face is the most dangerous as it is a sizeable shattered limestone. Since many climbers have perished on this 1800-meter-high wall, it is also known as the “Murderous Wall.” Heavy snow in the mountain keeps melting, ice falls, and avalanches are standard on the summit route.

Various ascents need to get abandoned mid-way due to the ice and rock fall. Around 700 mountain climbers have successfully summited the mountain, whereas more than 60 people have lost their lives at the summit.

Mount Baintha Brakk

Baintha Brakk hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 7,285 m (23,901 ft)

Location: Karakoram, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

First ascent: July 13, 1977, by Doug Scott and Chris Bonington

Baintha Brakk is popularly known as “The Ogre.” The mountain is a steep, rocky mountain situated at an elevation of 7,285 meters. The most common route of the climb is the south face just above the Uzun Brakk Glacier.

Hence, the route will lead you to snowy paths with many ice slopes. The ice walls and seracs are unstable, which can lead to falls. Added to this is the unpredictability of the weather in the high-altitude region. Hence, Baintha Brakk ranks high among the most challenging mountains to climb.

A British Team climbed the mountain pretty late (by mountaineering standards). But it was generally mired with difficulties like broken legs, ribs, and pneumonia among the climbers. Only 3 successful attempts have been on the mountain so far.

Mount Matterhorn

Elevation: 4,478 m (14,692 ft)

Location: Aosta Valley, Italy; Valais, Switzerland.

First ascent: July 13, 1977, by Doug Scott and Chris Bonington

Matterhorn is a gorgeous mountain in the Alps of Switzerland and Italy. The extraordinary summit of the peak makes it one of the most visited mountains in Europe. However, it is quite tricky in terms of climbing. Matterhorn fatality numbers are more than 500.

The significant causes of Matterhorn’s fatality are avalanches and rockfalls. There are unpredictable snowstorms in the area as well. There are an average of 12 deaths on Matterhorn per year. However, since the turn of the 21st century, the rate of climbers dying on the Matterhorn has significantly reduced.

This was mainly attributed to climbing gear and equipment advancement, technology, and general awareness. Many climbing expeditions also take place with the assistance of local guides. There was a significant increase in the death rate with the casualty of at least ten people.

Mount Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc hardest mountain on earth to climb

Elevation: 4,807.81 m (15,773.7 ft)

Location: Aosta Valley, Italy, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

First ascent: 8 August 1786 by Jacques Balmat, Michel-Gabriel Paccard

Mont Blanc is Europe’s tallest peak. The mountain is not technical in its route, but there are various challenges that you will face. The peak is quite popular among hikers, and around 30,000 mountaineers summit Mont Blanc every year. There have been around 6,000 to 8,000 fatalities, which is alarming. It is much higher than any other mountain in the world. The fatality rate is approximately 10 and 20 hikers every year.

Since the mountain is crowded with trained, experienced, and inexperienced climbers, it causes quite a challenge. The more inexperienced climbers remain prone to risks and other dangers on the mountain. Numerous sections of the mountain are prone to rockfalls and avalanches. The Le Gouter route of the hill has a dangerous area known as ‘Grand Couloir,” where there are high chances of ice and rock falls.

There are other dangerous sections where mountaineers can be pretty vulnerable on the summit. There are massive ice blocks that can fall and can cause danger to the climbers. The other route is “Grand Mulet,” which has numerous crevasses and deep cracks. The snow softens when it gets warmer, and there are high chances of avalanches in the area. There is unpredictable weather, which makes the climb difficult. The hurricane-force winds crossing 60 km/hr can also force you to abandon the expedition.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)

Location: Mahalangur Himalayas, Solukhumbu District, Province No. 1, Nepal. Tingri County, Xigazê, Tibet Autonomous Region, China

First ascent: 29 May 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

Mount Everest in the Himalayas is, of course, the highest mountain peak in the world. This famous peak is known for its towering elevation. Most readers are surprised to see the highest mountain in the world in the lower ranks of the hardest mountain to climb. But Mount Everest is less complicated than most of the 8000m to climb.

Although it is not as technically challenging, the mountain is still quite an arduous journey. It takes you to a height you have never experienced before. The fatality rate has been around 1.4% since 2000, significantly less than the other eight thousanders. Similarly, the total fatality count stands at around 300.

The one factor that makes climbing Everest difficult is the brutal extreme climate. The section above 8000 meters is known as the Death Zone because of the many lives lost in the region. The high-altitude area has limited oxygen levels, and air pressure is at its lowest.

There are high chances of frostbite in the region, and the extreme cold can numb your senses. Altitude sickness is another challenging aspect of the part. Altitude sickness can lead to pulmonary edema, cerebral edema, heart attack, thrombosis, and even death if not treated in time.

Another aspect of fatality at such a high altitude is that the bodies of the climbers cannot be brought back. The bodies, therefore, remain on the mountain forever in a pristine state due to the cold. The fluctuating weather is another difficulty along the trails.

Other challenges include falls, avalanches, crevasses, and others. The summit fever, which is the desire to arrive at the top at any cost, is another leading cause of death on the mountain. Hence, Mount Everest is on the list of the hardest mountains to climb in the world. Therefore, Many travelers opt for the Everest Base Camp trek.


Elevation: 8,167 m (26,795 ft)

Location: Himalayas, Nepal

First ascent: 13 May 1960 by Kurt Diemberger, A. Schelbert, E. Forrer, Nawang Dorje, Nyima Dorje

Dhaulagiri is another incredible mountain located west of Annapurna and ranks seventh-tallest in the world. This peak is also considered the hardest as more than 73 climbers have succumbed to their lives on the mountain. While 480 have reached the top of this mountain. The significant causes of fatality in the Dhaulagiri include avalanches and extreme altitude.

There are many avalanche-prone areas in the region. The mountain has been less climbed due to these regions. Located at an altitude of 8,167 meters, Dhaulagiri has many large faces, which is quite a challenge. There is also a steep rise in elevation as you reach the summit. For these reasons, it is the hardest mountain to climb in the world.


Denali hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 20,310 ft (6,190 m)

Location: Alaska Range, Denali National Park, and Preserve, Alaska, U.S.

First ascent: June 7, 1913, by Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper, Robert Tatum

Mt Denali is a high-altitude mountain peak in the Alaska range. There are various challenges that you will need to face during the climb. These include high elevation, extreme weather conditions, and minimal temperatures.

The mountain peak remains located in isolation. It is also the tallest mountain peak in North America and was previously known as Mount McKinley. The oxygen levels are pretty low in the region. The mountain peak has a success rate of only 50%.

Mt. Denali is the indigenous name of the mountain changed later in 2015. The mountain peak remains located over the Denali National Park. Since it remains located at a higher latitude, the atmosphere is thinner. 100 climbers have lost their lives attempting to arrive at the mountain top. This reason ranks it among the hardest mountains to climb in the world.


makalu hardest mountain to climb on earth
Makalu hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 8,485 m (27,838 ft)

Location: Mahalangur Himalayas, Province No. 1 (Khumbu), Nepal / Tibet Autonomous Region, China

First ascent: Lionel Terray, Jean Couzy on May 15, 1955

Makalu mountain peak is the 5th highest mountain in the world. The mountain peak remains located just 20 kilometers from Mount Everest. It is an isolated peak situated on the border of Nepal and Tibet. The technical difficulty of the trek is similar to K2.

The mountain has a unique four-sided pyramid structure. The climbing of Makalu requires many weeks of acclimatization and training. There are many glaciers and seracs in the area that are unstable. Hence, for these reasons, the mountain peak is among the hardest mountains to climb.


lhotse hardest mountain to climb on earth

Elevation: 8,516 m (27,940 ft)

Location: Mahalangur Himalayas, Province No. 1 (Khumbu), Nepal / Tibet Autonomous Region, China

First ascent: 18 May 1956, Fritz Luchsinger, Ernst Reiss

Lhotse is a towering peak connected to Mount Everest massif. The peaks connect on the South Col. Lhotse also has two other peaks, including Lhotse Middle and Lhotse Shar. The high elevation of 8516m is quite a challenge for the trek. The elevation above the 8000 m’ death zone is due to its extreme climate, unfavorable weather, and high fatality rate.

The Lhotse face (1125m) on the west and its incredible glacial ice is a challenge. The face rises at the elevation of 40 and 50 degrees. Since you will need to pass through these terrains, the trails are difficult. The trails get even steeper till the summit. Hence, it is widely considered quite difficult and among the hardest mountains to climb in the world.

Gauri Sankar

gauri shankar

Elevation: 7,134 m (23,406 ft)

Location: Rolwaling Himal, Nepal

First ascent: May 8, 1979, by John Roskelley and Dorje Sherpa

Gauri Sankar is another incredible mountain peak in the region. The beautiful mountain peak is the Nepal-China border. There are two summits: the Northern summit, known as Sankar, and the southern summit known as Gauri.

There were many expeditions in the Gauri Sankar in the 50s and 60s. However, it was only in 1979 that the climbers succeeded in arriving at the top. There are steep ice faces along the trail with extreme temperatures.

The route to the summit requires incredible technical skills to arrive at the summit. There are still fewer ascents of Gauri Sankar than other mountains in the region. Hence, for these reasons, Gauri Sankar is one of the hardest mountains to climb in the world.

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Final Say

The high-altitude mountains are quite an incredible feat that all mountaineers want to conquer. However, these beautiful mountain peaks are tough to conquer, even for the most experienced climbers. These summits provide travelers with the best adventure of their lifetime.

However, there are many challenges that you need to overcome to arrive at the top of the summit. Hence, you must perform all the necessary training before going on the expedition. The climbers must also have good mountaineering experience. Besides, all the logistics, like meals, accommodations, gear, equipment, and others, should also be managed in advance.

We hope you learned about the hardest mountains to climb in the world through this article. Contact us for more information and book adventurous peak climbing and trekking adventures in the region.


Traveller, Travel Blogger and SEO Expert who combines his love for exploration with his talent for writing and digital marketing.

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